“Yet I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:21-23
“May the GOD OF HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
“If we look back on each of our lives, how many times did God have another plan than we did? Seasons of pain and suffering. Times of loss and heartache. Days of darkness where we wondered if God was really with us at all.”
(Over the past couple of months, this 2015 post has been visited often, raising it to the most popular post so far in 2020.)
Nature is a Retreat of Hope
“Adopt the pace of nature.
Her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thank you to my brother John for these stunning photos.
(🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂)
I’m taking a break from posting. I hope to return the first Tuesday in August. Meanwhile, please feel free to email me if you have a prayer request or just want to connect with me. 🙂 (My email is in the right-hand column.)
God bless and strengthen you through whatever troubles you are going through!
Heavy emotions can feel like an undercurrent tugging us down into discouragement and depression, can’t they? We can keep trying to desperately cling to our only HOPE. But sometimes… Lord, I can’t hang on anymore…
I sometimes feel so overwhelmed with sadness over all the sorrow and suffering in the world, and this Covid pandemic has my emotions all over the map. But I often trap them inside. I feel compelled to show others I am strong enough to handle them on my own. Including God… I allow burdens, that of others and of myself, to weigh me down too much instead of truly surrendering them over to God who alone has the power to rescue, redeem, and restore.
I even fight against the way God chooses to redeem and revive. I forget not a tear is wasted. I forget that our hearts are transformed the most through suffering. I forget God has the power to paint beauty out of ashes.
One morning my heart nudged me to get back to reading it. The first words I read expressed my feelings:
“Have you ever felt like life was overwhelming you? Like thing after thing was piling on you, stealing your strength and leaving you gasping?” (Jeanne Takenaka)
Oh yes, that is how I feel, Lord! Please help us!
Then towards the end of the devotion:
“When the ground beneath us shifts, God’s mercy upholds us. He is always with us, in every season.
We can find reassurance knowing our Father’s got us. He’s holding our hands and sharing His consolations with us when we need them most.” (Jeanne Takenaka)
Yes, Lord, I want to believe
Your mercy will hold us up!
I believe, please help my unbelief!
The ground beneath us has shifted drastically throughout this entire world. We may feel like we’re free falling into a deep, dark hole. Simple everyday things we thought we had control of have been taken out of our hands.
God’s got us, and His mercy will uphold us, no matter what we’re going through. So why am I still afraid?
You know how a well-adjusted child jumps into the arms of a loving father? Trusting with all his heart that Daddy will catch him?
When our trust has been so broken in life, even when we have come far on the journey of healing, fear can suddenly pop up. Lack of control over our lives may trigger fear of trusting others, even our Heavenly Father. Even when He invites us, “Come, My child. Jump into My arms. I’ll catch you and I’ll hold you closely in My loving arms. I won’t harm you. I’ll fight for you. So trust Me, My child! I’ve got this! Trust My way and My timing. Relax, let go of your grip on control, and surrender your heart and life to Me. Let yourself fall into My arms!”
Desperately, we keep holding onto some form of control. Is He really safe? Will He truly catch us? Will He hold us and get us through this?
God has promised He will!
“The eternal God is your refuge and dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He drove out the enemy from before you, And said, ‘Destroy!’”
And you know what? God doesn’t condemn us when we slip and find ourselves not trusting Him again. He understands that struggling journey far better than any person in the world does. He accepts us just as we are in all our humanness. He understands how our emotions can take us all over the map. But He never gives up on us, even when we give up on Him. He holds His arms open wide and keeps coaxing us to let go and fall into His arms of mercy and unfailing love that He has promised will support us!
“Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, “My foot is slipping,” Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.”
Just Be Held
by Casting Crowns
“Hold it all together Everybody needs you strong But life hits you out of nowhere And barely leaves you holding on
And when you’re tired of fighting Chained by your control There’s freedom in surrender Lay it down and let it go
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held Just be held, just be held…”
“But God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life, for death could not keep Him in its grip.” Acts 2:24 NLT
Their hearts heave with unshed tears and their heads hang with grief, but their feet trudge on with purpose. Their Master is dead. Their hopes and joys are shattered and buried with Him. But they will still remember the love this Man gave to them.
These women of courage head for the tomb. Their spices and their tears will mingle together to anoint the body, to slow down the decay of their precious Jesus, the one they thought would save them. But now? A dead one can’t deliver them from their enemies.
“Who will roll away the stone from the tomb?” they cry. The stone, like their despair, is far too heavy for these women to move. And besides, how will they ever get past the guards? Impossibilities loom ahead of them, but they can’t stop. The love of Jesus draws them on like bees to honey. Their hearts still cry out to Him in desperation.
Their heads bowed, they are intent on reaching the grave. Then they look up… What?!
“Looking up, they saw that
the stone had been rolled away,
although it was extremely large.”
Mark 16:4 NASB
The stone is already rolled away! And no guards. They enter the tomb and see a young man dressed in a sweeping robe as white as snow. Terror and confusion attack their already troubled hearts as they tremble at the sight of this angel whose appearance is like lightning.
“The angel said to the women,
‘Do not be afraid;
for I know that you are
looking for Jesus
who has been crucified.
He is not here,
for He has risen,
just as He said.
Come, see the place
where He was lying.’”
Matthew 28:5-6 NASB
Their eyes round with wonder, they remember the words Jesus had spoken – that He would be crucified but would rise again the third day. Afraid, yet filled with joy, they hurry to tell the disciples the best news anyone could ever tell. JESUS IS ALIVE!
Sometimes we believe this great news in our heads, but we can’t seem to grasp it fully in our hearts. It may feel like Jesus is still dead. Like our hopes and joys are still buried in that tomb. Like our hearts are so downcast that we cannot even see the stone is already rolled away.
Troubles may threaten to crush and smother us, but there is still hope. Why?
HE IS RISEN! He is still alive. Today. Forever. He was crucified, but He is glorified. For each of us. Our hopes and joys are not in that tomb but alive in Him. He conquered death and hell and left our sins in the tomb. Because He lives, sin’s power is broken. Because He lives, no enemy will triumph over us. Because He lives, nothing and no one can separate us from His love.
Precious Jesus, Like these women Your love draws us. We cannot live without You.
Sometimes our hearts are so heavy; We cannot feel You really are alive. Please shed the blinding gloom from our eyes That we may truly see You have already removed the stone And You truly are alive Yesterday, today, and forever.
Death could not hold You. Hell could not keep You. The sins of this whole world Could not destroy You.
O please, Lord, Dispel the darkness in our hearts With Your everlasting light. Shatter the despair we are buried in And fill us with the joy You gave those women at the tomb. Joy so full and free That it spills out to others.
When depression saps the life from us, Fill us with Your life. May our hearts leap with joy Because You are alive And here with us Always and forever.
No matter what we go through You hold our hand. Even when it’s dark Even when we can’t feel You You are alive Beside us Within us.